Guide to Air Duct Cleaning

Published 9/21/2023

Mr. Duct Air Duct Cleaning

Before the weather completely turns and we have to turn on the heat, you should ask yourself - are my air ducts ready? Before we know it, the holidays will be upon us, and if you're hosting any major holiday gathering, it's best practice to have those air ducts cleaned out. Even if you're not hosting, you don't want to be trapped all winter with a dirty air system in place!

Homes tend to accumulate a buildup of dust, which can lead to more severe problems, including poor heating and cooling performance issues from your HVAC system. You may also experience odors circulating around the home. While these are normal occurrences, it's important to remember the need for air duct cleaning.

When to Clean Air Ducts

For HVAC systems that operate seasonally during different times of the year, it is best to schedule the air duct cleaning approximately about a month prior to when planning to start up the HVAC system. This also benefits anyone that suffers due to severe allergies, as it effectively reduces allergen levels in the home.

In cases where continuous operation of the HVAC system is maintained, air duct cleaning should be performed as needed. If you start to experience a musty odor upon HVAC activation or if there is any suspicion of rodent infestation, immediate air duct cleaning is necessary.

Some homeowners may consider conducting air duct cleaning themselves following certain circumstances, such as the installation of a new HVAC system, major repair work, or during a house remodeling project that generates excessive dust and debris. This precautionary measure ensures the removal of any dust and debris that may have been previously undisturbed, potentially stirred up when the blower operates at higher volume settings.

When mold and mildew are detected within the air ducts, it may be preferred to engage the services of Mr. Duct for a rigorous cleaning to completely eliminate mold and mildew from the HVAC system, thereby safeguarding indoor air quality.

HVAC Ducts

HVAC air ducts form a continuous loop, where air circulates from the central AC unit or furnace through supply ducts into rooms. The same air eventually returns to the central unit using the return duct.

Supply Ducts

Supply ducts distribute either warm or cold air into rooms. Most rooms in the house typically have supply duct registers, although some may not.

Supply registers are equipped with plastic or metal grilles and can be situated on the floor, exterior walls, ceilings, or beneath windows.

Supply ducts tend to maintain a cleaner state compared to return ducts. This is because the air initially passes through a filter before reaching the various supply registers throughout the house.

Return Air Duct

A sizable return air vent extracts air from rooms and channels it back to the AC or furnace system. Usually, the return is positioned in the wall, near the floor.

The return air duct consistently accumulates more contaminants than the supply ducts. This is due to the fact that unfiltered and dirty air from inside the home is drawn down the return duct as it returns to the HVAC system.

DIY vs Professional

DIY duct cleaning differs significantly from professional duct cleaning, primarily due to the unavailability of professional-grade equipment for DIY enthusiasts and the challenging replication of the specialized tools used in professional services. While DIY efforts offer a modified approach to cleaning ductwork, they typically address a portion of the system but may not comprehensively tackle the entire ductwork.

Dislodging Contaminants

Within HVAC ductwork, numerous contaminants adhere to the ducts' interior surfaces or are too weighty to be dislodged solely through air pressure. These contaminants require physical dislodging.

Professional duct cleaning employs specialized tools, such as brushes or air whips affixed to compressed air hoses, manual brushing, or contact vacuuming. The negative air machines used by professionals possess remarkable power, enabling them to effectively dislodge a wide range of contaminants.

In contrast, DIY duct cleaning entails the use of a chimney cleaning head connected to ten feet of flexible nylon rods, which are propelled through the supply and return ductwork using an electric drill. While the rotating chimney head can clean a significant portion of the ductwork, it cannot reach all sides of the duct, nor does it exert the same force as the compressed air-driven whip cleaner employed by professional duct cleaning companies.

Contaminant Removal

Professional duct cleaning involves both the mechanical dislodgment of contaminants and the application of negative air pressure within the air ducts. The results in a facilitating of the movement of contaminants in a backward direction, away from the return air or supply vents, going back towards the central unit.

DIY duct cleaning on the other hand, relies on the movement of contaminants in the forward direction toward the vents – rather than redirecting backwards to the furnace or AC unit. Note: If you are considering a DIY cleaning, be cautious, as improper cleaning techniques or procedures can cause more indoor air quality in the home.

By allowing Mr. Duct to service your air duct cleaning process, we guarantee that all organic material will be removed, and follow up with a before and after video inspection.

If it's time to start scheduling your air duct cleaning, schedule an appointment with Mr. Duct or call us at 1-800-501-4157 today.

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